The short story Sexy written by Jhumpa Lahiri dives deep into how the world interprets the word sexy. In doing so we get a glimpse at what true love really is as we read about what love isn’t. Miranda thinks that Dev loves her and that she loves him. But the truth is, that is not love.

In this story Miranda meets a married man, named Dev, who begins to have frequent affairs with her. When he calls her sexy we get a glimpse at how she interprets the word sexy. She immediately goes out searching for lingerie and other clothing that will help her feel more sexy. The way Miranda interpreted the word sexy is as an endearing term that meant that this man thought she was attractive and that he loved her. But then, a young boy whose father recently had an affair told Miranda that sexy means loving someone you don’t know. This is what finally gets Miranda to realize that Dev doesn’t really love her. When he called her sexy that wasn’t really him saying that he loved her. It was him saying that he doesn’t know her, but he thinks she is sexually attractive. This isn’t true love!

So what is true love? I think Elder Jeffery R Holland explained it best in his conference address titles Place no more for the enemy of my soul He says “True love endures. But lust changes as quickly as it can turn a pornographic page or glance at yet another potential object for gratification walking by, male or female. True love we are absolutely giddy about—as I am about Sister Holland; we shout it from the housetops. But lust is characterized by shame and stealth and is almost pathologically clandestine—the later and darker the hour the better, with a double-bolted door just in case. Love makes us instinctively reach out to God and other people. Lust, on the other hand, is anything but godly and celebrates self-indulgence. Love comes with open hands and open heart; lust comes with only an open appetite.”

I never have liked the word sexy. The word objectifies women in a way that is honestly more downgrading than it is endearing. It’s all about lust. It’s just finding someone that we don’t know who can meet our needs. This is exactly what this story shows us. But true love goes much deeper than ones body. Just recently I came across a post on instagram that caught my attention and I felt like it is a great example of what love really looks like. The post said this “You don’t fall in love with a body, you fall in love with a soul. And once in love with a soul, everything about that body becomes beautiful.”

Something else I want to add is that the issue of lust has just become more and more of an issue with technology. The story only shows what this looks like when to people physically meet up. But now days there are so many ways to fulfill our lustful desires by just going online. But again, this is not love. This is the problem that we have in our world today. It’s one that we have always dealt with, but with technology it is only getting bigger.

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Raistlyn · September 13, 2022 at 3:04 am

“Love comes with open hands and open heart; lust comes with only an open appetite.” What a powerful statement! Your post makes me question if “sexy” is always objectifying for a woman. My gut response is that feeling sexy can be a way to feel comfortable in your own body, too, regardless of what it actually looks like or how others perceive it. Sexy can be a state of mind rather than a physical quality.

    admin · September 13, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    Oh I like that! I hadn’t really thought about it that way. I like that positive spin on the word sexy. I guess just like with everything there can be good and bad effects and uses. Thanks for your comment!

Maura · September 13, 2022 at 3:37 am

I agree, I have never liked the adjective “sexy” to describe a person, because it is more objectifying, especially in today’s society. This story had well-written irony. She couldn’t see what was right in front of her, even though she had her coworker’s cousin’s experience and the knowledge of the background of the word “sexy.”

    admin · September 13, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    I like that you emphasized that especially in our society today sexy is becoming more and more of an objectification and I think that is because of technology and how easy it has become to satisfy those sexual appetites with the internet. It’s selfish and self centered. And that’s a lot of the same thing that we saw with Miranda. She was blinded by her desires to be wanted and loved. Like you said, it’s full of irony!

Maddie · September 13, 2022 at 4:45 am

Great post! This story made me feel sorry for Miranda, and I don’t think I understood why until I read your post and realized that it was because she loved Dev while he only lusted after her. I really appreciated the quote by Elder Holland that you tied in, it helped me better understand true love and how I can look for that in my life rather than lust.

    admin · September 13, 2022 at 2:37 pm

    Absolutely! Great point! I would agree that Miranda probably did love Dev but like you said, as much as she wanted to tell herself it was different he really only lusted after her.

Tatum · September 13, 2022 at 3:46 pm

I think it’s interesting how many of us seem to agree that Miranda likely loved Dev when he only lusted after her. It reminds me of my scripture study this morning in Helaman 14-16. The wicked Nephites are very quick to dismiss miraculous signs and revelations, choosing to instead excuse them and pretend they never happened. Similarly, Miranda seems to deny what she is a part of. Blinded by her infatuation, she tries not to think about Dev’s wife and son; he loves her that’s what matters, even when she hears of her coworker’s cousin on the other side of the story. It isn’t until she sits and thinks a little harder about what she has been denying that it sinks in: he doesn’t love her…

Brian Croxall · September 13, 2022 at 4:51 pm

Great post, Kaden: you very incisively get to the heart of the story. This will make my job easier in class today.

I think a lot of the comments here point us to a question: how aware is Miranda of what she’s doing? What leads her to make a change?

Sophie · September 13, 2022 at 7:55 pm

I think you did a really good job of summarizing this story! And I love the small poem/proverb that you included – I think it connects really well to the details of this story, emphasizing the difference in the nature of the feelings that Dev had for Miranda and that Miranda had for Dev. I agree with Raistlyn that I think the word “sexy” can have a positive sense if we focus on our own relationship with our body, and not solely on the world’s established beauty norms.

Megan · September 15, 2022 at 2:01 am

Wow, I love that quote! Love really does have to deal with the soul, which includes both body and spirit.

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